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Joke for German learners

If you understand this joke, your German is on a good way:

Was ist der Unterschied zwischen einem Comedian und einem Kabarettisten?

Der Eine macht es wegen dem Geld, der Andere wegen des Geldes.

I will post the explanation in a few hours, so you will have some time to think about it. A hint: Mind the cases!

Feel free to post more German language jokes!

November 25, 2017



Es streiten sich ein Franzose, ein Engländer und ein Deutscher, wer die komplizierteste Sprache hat.

Der Franzose: "Mon dieux, natürlich wir Franzosen. Wir schreiben 'Monsieur' und wir sagen 'Musjö'."

Der Engländer: "Well, wir Briten erheben Anspruch auf den Titel, wir schreiben 'Elevator' und sagen 'Lift'."

Der Deutsche: "Das ist einfach, natürlich sind wir Deutschen die Sieger. Wir schreiben 'Entschuldigen Sie bitte, ich habe Ihren letzten Satz nicht richtig verstanden, würden Sie so nett sein und den bitte wiederholen?' und wir sagen 'Hä?'“


“Warum hat Herr Maier seinen Sohn Hamlet genannt?" "Tja, sein oder nicht sein, das ist hier die Frage!"


I am certain there are better ones around! :)


Sein oder nicht sein! Ich hau mich weg!


The first one is pure gold.

Das erste ist reines Gold. (huh?)


So tiramisues already posted some explanation about the joke, but I am going to rehash it:

German has four cases (Nominativ, Genetiv, Dativ und Akkusativ), but the Genetiv is in the process of slowly being replaced by the Dativ. The Dativ as a replacement is often used by younger or less educated speakers, I myself find myself sometimes using it in colloquial speech - but I correct these 'mistakes' in written language or formal speech.

Giving a reason with wegen is one example where both forms are used: wegen des Geldes (genetiv) or wegen dem Geld (dativ). Another very common phrase is wegen des Wetters/wegen dem Wetter.

So now we have two words for a person who entertains with humorous content - einen Kabarettisten und einen Comedian. The second word is of course an Anglicism directly imported from English. As such, it is less likely to be used by people speaking 'the good old correct German'. These entertainers also choose to call themselves either Comedians or Kabarettisten, so that you can infer which level of humour you can expect - and which case they may use.

By the way, the most common occurrence of false Dativ is when talking about possession:

Ich sehe Marks Freundin. vs. Ich sehe dem Mark seine Freundin.

If you use the Dativ to express possession, German speakers will just think low of you.


If anyone wants to laugh about the German language read The awful German language by Mark Twain. https://www.cs.utah.edu/~gback/awfgrmlg.html (there are probably nicer looking versions on google, it was just the first result, there are also German translations online, look for "Die schreckliche deutsche Sprache").

A quote out of it to fit the puns in this thread:
"I heard a Californian student in Heidelberg say, in one of his calmest moods, that he would rather decline two drinks than one German adjective."


I have this book in a remarkable edition: First of all Twain's text is bilingual in German and English, but more importantly, the text is followed but by a short biography.

In this biography, it is explained how Mark Twain started his career with comedy about life and culture in Hawaii, which was well appraised at the time. After that he attempted do repeat his success with the European culture, he even moved to Heidelberg and attempted to learn German for a few months. In this period the text was written. The sad thing is the Twain was serious about the changes he proposed to make to the language; he was not able to grasp the idea that diversity in culture also expresses itself in the language, including grammar.

The biography than goes on about how Twain later changed to serious topics, but as he was known in the public for his humour, they only wanted to hear his anecdotes once again when he wanted to talk about human and civil rights.

Nevertheless the text is still a good read.

[deactivated user]

    Zwei Muffins sitzen in einem Ofen. Einer sagt zu dem anderen: "Ist es hier heiß?" Der andere schreit und ruft: "Oh mein Gott, ein sprechender Muffin!"


    Der Pessismist sieht ein großes schwarzes Loch -

    Der Optimist sieht das Licht am Ende des Tunnels -

    Der Realist sieht einen von Menschenhand geschaffenen Durchgang durch den Berg. -

    Der Lokführer sieht drei Dummköpfe auf den Gleisen.


    No matter how kind your are, German kids are always Kinder.


    Just like the chocolate! :D

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